There was a hot story dropped by Malika Andrews of ESPN.com just before the Bulls game on Thursday night that Jabari Parker was not going to play much for the foreseeable future. I sort of get why this was considered so interesting, but maybe I’m being too KC-Johnson-y by saying this should’ve been prefaced with an “as expected...”.
Parker has had a better stretch of games than his awful beginning, but is still a trainwreck defensively and his scoring rarely comes in any flow of an offense. Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis are both back from injury, and both are better players than Parker at the very same position.
Even sentient overused-whistle Jim Boylen figured this out, saying “I think it’s hard to play three power forwards,” after the game, where Parker only played 4 minutes because Chandler Hutchison was out due to illness. Boylen then tried to soften the idea of Parker being permanently out, but in saying “I like Hutch” he is basically confirming it is the case for the time being.
Since Boylen’s hire there were frequent references by reporters (though damned if I can find them at the moment!) that he had a good relationship with Parker. But it was always just a bad fit positionally and style-wise. Perhaps if the Bulls pull the trigger on dumping Robin Lopez and/or Justin Holiday that would necessitate leaning on Parker again. Or trading Parker himself, who though handling this most recent news well (though Parker says he ‘doesn’t know’ the reasons for it, with sources saying it was specifically defensive effort, so that’s not great), likely isn’t happy that he’s very likely headed into free agency again with no playing time on one of the league’s worst teams.
But let’s focus more on who actually caused this issue, the braintrust that made the Parker signing in the first place. There was plenty of first-guessing that this was a bad idea, while Paxson himself was saying things like “we feel this signing fits perfectly into the direction we chose...someone with great versatility” and figuring Parker would start at small forward. We’ve now had two coaches, who aren’t even that good at coaching, quickly figure out that wasn’t going to work.
Look for GarPax will go into overdrive spinning the Parker signing as ultimately ‘low-risk’ because it was a one-year deal, and really what better can you do with $20M in cap space? (here’s a primer refuting that canard) And they’re going to get away with it because they always do, and their boss’s son actually singled this out as a smart move mere weeks before Paxson called Jabari fat and promoted a head coach who agreed. I suppose that’s an additional factor in why this isn’t very newsworthy.